Media Responsibility Report Offers Insights into China’s Online Ecosystem

The environment has led to more uniform content policies across the platforms, says Mediabrands, unlike global platforms that set their own overarching concept for what is tolerated.

A new study by Mediabrands APAC called ‘Media Responsibility – A China Perspective’ examines Asia’s largest market and its “vastly different online ecosystem.”

According to Mediabrands, “China, as a nation, has witnessed the significant impact that social media can have on society, and with a goal to protect its citizens they have rolled out some of the most rigorous and direct regulations in the world,” said a release.

“China has been an unknown quantity for many global marketers when it comes to content online and concerns around brand safety,” said Harrison Boys, Director Standards & Investment Product, Mediabrands APAC, and author of the report.

 
 

“This report helps to uncover the approach of the platforms and reassure marketers that online content control is on par and often exceeds major international platform standards. Additionally, the report will also give marketers insights into Corporate Social Responsibility topics, tailored to the Media landscape.”

“The environment has led to more uniform content polices across the platforms. This in comparison to global platforms who largely set out their own overarching concept for what is tolerated on platform.”

The report notes media responsibility practices in China are steered by the regulatory landscape, and the areas of focus for internet companies are set out by the national core values.

 
 

For example, Chinese platforms are significantly more advanced in Child Safety standards and regulations compared to global platform equivalents.

Mediabrands added that there has been a large focus within China to set out regulations that bring forth core values, reduce harm online, protect citizens, and create an environment in which internet companies can prosper. Notable regulations include Personal Information Protection; Cyber Security; Algorithm Regulation; and Child Protection.

Many of these regulations and laws are new and consistently updated, with the aim of keeping pace with the ever-evolving online ecosystem.

“This contrasts with Government around the world who have been slow to regulate and keep pace with change in the social media landscape,” Mediabrands said in a release.


Key findings

  • Chinese platforms are significantly more advanced in Child Safety compared to global platforms. Every major China platform with a high potential for child or teen usage has a safety mode for this purpose, versus only TikTok and more recently Instagram who are implementing measures.
  • User accountability on China platforms is significantly higher. In most cases when users sign up to an account, they need to provide a phone number, which requires the use of government I.D. to acquire.
  • WeChat and Kuaishou have made progressive strides with expansive discrimination policies, strong company diversity policies as well as strong environmental sustainability credentials.
  • Platforms in China are actively pushing a strong message around bio-diversity and environmental issues with specific content programmes focussed on the issue.
  • Red / Xiaohongshu, China’s answer to Instagram has implemented policies against over-retouching for beauty images. Global equivalents have been criticized for theirs action in this area, and the impact it has on users, especially younger users.
  • The environment has led to more uniform content polices across the platforms. This in comparison to global platforms who largely set out their own overarching concept for what is tolerated on platform.

Other observations from the report:

  • One of the seven platforms researched had a Net Zero Carbon commitment (WeChat).
  • Five of seven platforms have emissions reduction plans.
  • All platforms have strong safety policies and advanced content moderation efforts.
  • All platforms have a policy against discrimination on the platform.
  • All platforms barring the news-focused TouTiao, have a child or teen safety mode.
  • WeChat, Kuaishou, and Bilibili are actively measuring diversity statistics.
  • Multiple platform’s commit to harmony and equality through unique policies such as wealth exaggeration, image manipulation, and world leading child & teen safety modes.
  • Significant efforts have been made into data security and China’s advanced privacy law.
  • All platforms have clear misinformation policies
  • All platforms have significant fraud prevention measures, where the focus is on scams and accounts that are misleading users.

The Staff

The Staff

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